SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Dr. Mark Castellaw offered a warning for Shelby County Friday. “It just takes one mistake, one drop in our precautions and then you’re infected," he said.
In a week that has seen the health department loosen coronavirus time and capacity restrictions, Dr. Castellaw, from Baptist Medical Group, says we shouldn’t get comfortable.
“I discussed this with some infectious disease doctors not 48 hours ago and they’re very concerned about us having another little bump here,” he said.
One of the biggest adjustments made by the health department is allowing bars and restaurants to stay open until midnight.
This is a change from the previous closing time of 10 p.m.
So, can a couple of hours really make much difference?
“I’m saying minutes can make a difference,” said Castellaw. “It’s all about how long you are exposed in a situation. Time is definitely a factor in infectivity and risk of disease.”
Memphis football will play its second game at the Liberty Bowl next Saturday against rival Central Florida.
Based off guidance from the health department, the school will increase seating capacity from 4,500 to almost 12,000.
Fans will be closer to each other, with the distance between seating groups shrinking from 12 feet to 6.
Dr. Castellaw says outdoor sports and other events are a better option but still aren’t totally COVID-proof.
“You’re certainly more able to social distance rather than being in a restaurant or something like that,” he said. “So, being outside, there is a benefit to that but I’d still wear my mask.”
Another element possibly being added to the mix is the return of in-person learning for Shelby County Schools.
No set plans have been made, but FOX13 reported Thursday SCS superintended Dr. Joris Ray asked Gov. Bill Lee for funding to help improve air quality in schools.
Dr. Castellaw said he feels there’s no need to be in a rush to loosen restrictions.
“Your health comes first,” he said. “As I said Jonathan, once you watch someone die from this virus, you have a respect for it.”
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